The truth is now I have someone in my life that does this for me all the time. It’s amazing to not just give, but also receive. How refreshing, and if I may be brutally honest, uncomfortable. When my fiancé learned of my past experience with Valentine’s Day he made it a point to surprise me with roses and a card when I woke up and a nice dinner out. It was really lovely for us, but also interesting to me was looking around at all the other dinner tables. Some people were on double dates, other couples were both on their smart phones rather than looking at each other, but one particular couple walked in as we did, all dressed up, smiling, and obviously enamored with each other. It was beautiful to see. My fiancé was touched and told the waitress to put their bottle of wine on our tab as a gift of their celebration. He told me that someone had done this for him once. It was really special. I have always believed that it is a day to remind us to show others how much we love them and vice versa, but I sure hope that it doesn’t just happen once a year for anyone.
In years past I semi rejected the holiday with the associated drama and overinflated prices, but this year some of the cute decorations and gifts in the stores have captured my attention and made me smile. The bouquets of flowers, cute stuffed animals, heart shaped balloons and chocolates seemed to be everywhere. Then of course, I looked at what types of chocolates were packaged so nicely. My practical side took over because I have trouble giving a gift of junk food. The great thing about chocolate is that it’s healthy and tasty…depending on what type of chocolate you choose.
The recommendation is to choose dark chocolate made of 70% or greater cocoa. The less processed the better. Avoid milk chocolate or dark chocolate with added sugars and fats. Chocolate has many health benefits because it contains flavonols that serve as an anti-oxidant. These compounds get lost in heavy processing. Research is showing that the potential benefits include lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It’s also a good for a sweet craving provided you don’t over indulge. Most say limit your intake to an ounce a day. Couple it with berries to enhance the antioxidant effect. I also love to serve dark chocolate with one of my favorite red wines as a nice after dinner sweet, as both flavors are enhanced. A bite or two is all you need. Another bonus is that red wine also contains antioxidants.
So, just like we don’t need a holiday to remind us to share our love with others or be romantic, we can routinely share in a delicious healthy treat. What will your gift be?
I can’t wait to hear your comments and suggestions.
In Love and Health,